Pre-orders work for big-name titles like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but what about for you? If you do a long pre-order, won't all your fans end up owning your book before the actual publish date? What would you do then?
Selling, Before You Start Selling
Smashwords and Amazon, which are both very indie-friendly sites, both offer pre-order options that allow customers to pay for the book even before it's published. According to market research, books that are available through the pre-order option tend to sell more copies overall than the books that do not. And you need to know that, because the numbers also show that most indie authors don't use it. Why?
There are good reasons why indie authors probably aren't using the pre-order option. For starters, many indies may not know that this option is open to them. It is. There's also the fear that selling pre-ordered copies may interfere with later sales once the book is published. This is not true. In actuality, selling pre-orders is exactly what every indie needs to do. You need to sell as many of them as possible, because you can use that to your advantage.
The pre-order copies aren't available until your book is published. That means the transactions will complete that day, and this will give you a spike in sales the moment you publish your book. This can only benefit you as an indie author, that little spike. This will help you appear on bestseller lists and search results, which can generate more sales.
You can designate books for pre-order through Kindle, Smashwords, iBooks and a ton of other book-selling sights. Offer your book for sale in as many places as possible to get that starting spike, and get your book off to a good start.